Indian Supercomputing Mission

News: Recently, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru installed the supercomputer ‘Param Pravega’. It has a supercomputing capacity of 3.3 petaflops. It has been installed under the government’s National Supercomputing Mission. The National Supercomputing Mission is intended to indigenise the development and manufacturing of powerful computers.

What is a Supercomputer?

  • supercomputeris a computer that performs at or near the currently highest operational rate for computers. Generally, PETAFLOP is a measure of a Supercomputer’s processing speed and can be expressed as a thousand trillion floating point operations per second. FLOPS (floating point operations per second) are typically used to measure the performance of a computer’s processor.
  • Using floating-point encoding, extremely long numbers can be handled relatively easily. Supercomputers are primarily designed to be used in enterprises and organizations that require massive computing power.
  • For example, weather forecasting, scientific research, intelligence gathering and analysis, data mining
  • Globally, China has the maximum number of supercomputers and maintains the top position in the world, followed by the US, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
  • India’s first supercomputer was PARAM 8000.
  • PARAM Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by PARAM Shakti, PARAM Brahma, PARAM Yukti, PARAM Sanganak at IIT-Kharagpur, IISER, Pune, JNCASR, Bengaluru and IIT Kanpur respectively.
  • In 2020, PARAM Siddhi, the High-Performance Computing-Artificial Intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer, achieved global ranking of 62ndin Top 500 most powerful supercomputer systems in the world.

What is the National Supercomputing Mission?

  • In 2015, the National Supercomputing Mission was launched to enhance the research capacities and capabilities in the country by connecting them to form a Supercomputing grid, with National Knowledge Network (NKN) as the backbone. The NKN project is aimed at establishing a strong and robust Indian network which will be capable of providing secure and reliable connectivity.
  • It supports the government’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’
  • The Mission is being jointly steered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It is implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, and the IISc, Bengaluru.
  • The mission was planned in three phases:
    • Phase I looking at assembling supercomputers,
    • Phase II looking at manufacturing certain components within the country.
    • Phase III where a supercomputer is designed by India.
  • An indigenously developed server platform called ‘Rudra’ is being tried out in a pilot system, with an interconnect for inter node communication called Trinetra also having been developed.